The sparks fly among the forest children even in sub-zero temperatures.
A meaningful event from our everyday pedagogical life, experienced and narrated by Aline, our facility manager.
It had sub-zero temperatures in Herrieden, and the water in a discarded pan (now used for play) was frozen in the morning. Then, one child had the question:
“How do I melt the ice?”
Hm… with heat. “But we don’t have a heater where we can place it.” “Maybe warm it up with our hands?” The direct attempt – “Brrr, my hands are getting freezing!” So, we decided to dedicate ourselves to the topic the next day. As it was already Thursday and we didn’t have time to make ice cubes from water in different containers (the following week promised warmer weather), we gave the children this as homework. The next morning, the children brought chocolate boxes, yogurt cups, cans, shampoo bottles, etc., filled with frozen water. Now, their spirit of inquiry was awakened.
We prepared magnifying glasses, hammers, safety goggles, files, etc. The children examined the ice pieces with our magnifying glasses. “There are water bubbles in there!” Everyone began to explore, experiment, and research. Hm… we need a heat source to warm up the pan and melt the ice. Ideas were exchanged, then they got to work: chopping wood, preparing the fire bowl, and everything needed for a safe fire together… igniting the fire. “Should we put the pan directly into the fire?” No… we’ll get our Muurikka. Different ice cubes were melted on it, the pan warmed up, and so much was observed and discovered about what happens during the process. Large and small ice cubes, round, square… “what melts faster?”… All senses were alert. “The fire crackles!” “It sizzles when the ice drips onto the hot Muurikka.” “The melted water is steaming!” Is that smoke? “No, it’s water vapor!” “Look, the small ice cube is floating in the hot water!” “Oh, now it has melted away.” “Look, the yogurt cup-shaped ice has turned into a glass!” Hypotheses were formed, questions asked, and arguments exchanged together about why certain things were happening. Suddenly, a large air bubble rises inside an ice cube. “Quick, lift the ice cube!” With fire gloves, we lift the cube – a hole had melted at the bottom, water poured out… when we looked into the melted hole: “Wow, wow, …” Both young and old were in awe! Ice crystal rods formed in the middle.
Even our two trial children were so excited by the day of exploring and experimenting that their mother enrolled them with us.